The ETF industry in the U.S. has finally broken through the $2 trillion dollar milestone, demonstrating the product’s surge in popularity with investors.

Through December 22nd, assets have increased 18% in 2014 from $1.698 trillion to $2.007 trillion based on positive market performance and net new assets, according to London-based research firm ETFGI.

ETFGI reports that the U.S. listed ETF and ETP industry has gained $232 billion in net new assets this year, which is a new record, topping last year’s haul of $190 billion.

"ETFs going through $2 trillion in the U.S. is an important milestone," Deborah Fuhr, managing partner and founder of ETFGI, previously told Money Management Executive. “Many people didn't expect them to be successful."

Fuhr said an ability to appeal to even the average consumer is one of the biggest strengths of ETFs.

"Today, active managers see ETFs like futures and use them and many pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, endowments, pensions, hedge funds, and financial advisors are using ETFs, so they are a very democratic product that allows all types of investors access to the same toolbox, at the same annual cost, with a minimum investment size of one share.

"It really shows the power of the wrapper and structure in aiding distribution," she added. "It helps to illustrate that it has been a good idea, and there has been growing acceptance around the world."

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